Friday, August 31, 2007

Free stuff again

This isn't really a blog about finding free stuff, but for some reason I keep coming across more and more free stuff these days. My guess is that it is garage sale season and people just leave the leftovers out with a free sign. Or maybe the impending start to school is making everyone want to get their lives organized and clear out extra space. Or maybe lots of people move in the fall. Or maybe I just have had a spell of good luck. It is hard to say. Whatever the case below are two pictures of today's good finds.

This is a Kelty backpack that appears to be in good condition. I don't know much about backpacks, but I know we have had this brand in our house before and it looked like a nice size, maybe even a woman's pack. It is a little dirty, but a good wipe down should clean all that up. If we decide we don't want it (let's face it how many backpacks do two people need, especially when one will only consent to backpacking twice a year at most) I will post it on ebay.

This is a full 28oz bottle of baby wash. Is it bad to wash your baby in something you found on the street? I vote no.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not a good deal

Dan was taking out the garbage yesterday and spotted what he thought was a plan gray, new looking t-shirt in the dumpster. Since it was laundry day he grabbed it and threw it in the wash thinking he had just scored a good basic wardrobe addition. Unfortunately when I grabbed it out of the dryer we saw that it was not actually a plain gray t-shirt, but instead was the runner-up in the ugliest vacation t-shirt contest. Let this be a lesson to you about grabbing things out of the dumpster. Perhaps they are there for a reason.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beginning of the month means more than just the rent is due

I have been waiting for the end of the month so I can blog about one of my favorite thrifty finds. Walgreen's has a great rebate program. I know rebates sound really lame and sort of retro, but you can really get good deals. I haven't bought a tooth brush is a long time, they always come up on rebate. Not to mention every new hair product seems to premier in the rebate catalog. Anyway, if you are up for the extra step of sending in your rebate form and waiting for a check it is a fun and cheap way to try new products.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pyrex fun

I love vintage pyrex. It is the most classic collectible as far as I am concerned. Plus there is a ton of it, it seems to last well and it can still be used exactly as it was intended to be used years ago. Besides who doesn't want to feel like a 50's housewife sometimes? The pyrex pictured above are my current mixing bowls and a couple of my casserole dishes. I usually can find these for $3-7, although I have gotten some pretty good deals. The blue casserole dish above was in the free basket at a garage sale. The white bowls with the red and orange pattern is among the most common pyrex I see out there. The pattern is called friendship, which is exactly what I would like to have with the person who designed this beautiful and useful kitchen tool. I recently found a small 1 quart casserole dish in this pattern for $2 at goodwill. The only catch with these dishes is that any lids often have disappeared into the ruins of history. If you happen to find a lid for a vintage pyrex casserole, buy it. I will reimburse you for it and give you a hearty thanks. Or you can keep it, put on your house dress and high heels, add a vintage apron and prepare a tasty roast beef dinner for your husband just like in the 50s.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Green tea for free

Ok my title is a little misleading since this is not about how to get free green tea, but who can resist a rhyme? Ever since discovering green tea lattes and frappuccinos at Starbucks I have been wondering how to make one at home. It can't be that hard right? Well I think today I have perfected the art of the homemade green tea latte. The one catch is that you have to go out an buy Macha or powdered green tea. I found it in bulk at my local natural foods market for $3.75 an ounce. Take the Macha and mix a good size teaspoon with about 8oz milk and mix well. You can warm up your milk first if you want to have a hot latte. Add a shot of vanilla syrup or if you must 2 teaspoons of sugar, although I warn you it is better with vanilla syrup. Add ice and serve. To me it is a dead ringer for Starbucks. If you want to make a frappuccino add a little extra sugar and blend in the blender. Enjoy these drinks before it gets too cold for them. (who wants frappuccinos or iced lattes in the rain?)

More kids stuff

Lets face it, it is fun to buy stuff for kids. My child is only 10 months old and I already buy her things like this wooden alphabet puzzle by Learning Resources. It is a really nice wooden puzzle with all the pieces. At least when I buy stuff like this I can say to myself "it is important for her not to just have a bunch of cheap plastic toys so I should pick up the nice wooden ones when I find them" or some other equally as weak justification. However this puzzle does retail new for $25 and I did only pay $3 for it at Value Village. Plus JJ who is three comes over a lot and he can use it in the meantime. Maybe I should really be saving all this good justification stuff for Dan who believes children should only have sticks and rocks and their imagination instead of posting it on my blog...

Good things come to those who wait

This cookbook might look fairly ordinary, but it was quite an exciting find for me. This is a great cookbook by the Mennonites that encourages people to cook with whole foods and locally grown in season produce. In other words it is a healthy cookbook which includes things like quinoa and barley. Before you discount it all together though, it has surprisingly good tasting recipes. My friend and neighbor Kris and I both try to cook this way as much as possible, much to the chagrin of our husbands. We end up trading this cookbook back and forth multiple times a week and sometimes multiple times in one day. I found this at my local Value Village for $2.99 today. It is in new shape without any signs of use. (Perhaps the former owner was turned off by its liberal use of leafy greens) It will be a gift for Kris so we can each enjoy our own copy. If you ever see one at your local thrift store I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Remember these?

I found the apple and the phone at Goodwill for $.99 each, the cash register at Value Village for $1.99
This was a little bit of a splurge at an antique shop. I think I paid $6.00 for it. Hannah really likes this one.

Or this?

Do you remember this toy? Or how about the other ones I posted above? I have all of a sudden gotten into nostalgic Fisher Price toys. It could be the recent birth of my offspring, who knows. Anyway, these toys now seem to scream out to me at thrift stores. I have the fondest memories of playing with my little people sets for long periods at a time. In my memory it was hours, but given children's attention span it could have actually been 15 minutes. Some can be found easily but more and more they are becoming rare. This activity center above I have seen once before, but that is it. It costs $1.99 at Goodwill. That is the good thing about these toys, thrift stores don't seem to realize that there is a growing number of people who are now collecting them so the prices remain pretty low. Now I have an excuse to buy these when I find them since they can be for Hannah or to sell on Ebay. The truth is though I buy them because they are disappearing and I want to hang on to a little bit of my childhood before it all ends up in the dump. So sad.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Household Goods

I realize this picture is almost impossible to make out, but my newly acquired blogging instinct says a post with a picture is better than a post without so I put it up anyway. For those of you without elf-like vision (that is a reference to Lord of the Rings for those who missed it) I will interpret. The above picture is a bag of 6 new Brita water pitcher filters with a $2.99 price tag. In other words, it is a picture of a very good deal. I am new to the world of water filters. It has really only been since my daughter Hannah was born that I began worrying about things like water quality and toxin leaching plastic food storage containers. The point is that I did not realize that water filters for these things can actually get fairly expensive. Sometimes more than $5 a piece. You're supposed to replace them every two months and despite my strong thrifty streak I decided if I was going to have one I needed to change the filter that often to keep it doing what is supposed to be doing. Anyway, today I found 6 filters for $3 which should last me at year. Here's to a year of mercury and other toxin free water!

Family Freebies

Dan and I often find ourselves walking through our lovely neighborhood and finding some freebies. Most of these freebies are not really worth picking up and are often referred to by others as 'trash.' However every now and then some thing good pops up. Our most recent finds are pictured above. Yesterday Dan found a pair of tennis shoes which he now considers his "new shoes." Some may be suspect of free shoes found on the side of the road, but not my husband. He embraced these shoes and welcomed them joyously into his closet. I was a little concerned, but so far his feet have yet to develop a nasty itch, so we'll count it as a blog worthy find!
I found a slightly less sketchy freebie walking through our neighborhood about 2 weeks ago. It is the very large canvas tote with blue accents pictured above. It is really solid and in good shape. Right now it is holding my latest batch of stuff to go to the thrift store, which seemed like the perfect use for a free bag. Lets hope for no itchy rashes all around!

Monday, August 6, 2007

An unintended good deal

Today I went to Starbucks to treat myself to a grande light green tea frappuccino, which if you have yet to try I would highly recommend. Anyway, I ordered my drink and sat down. When it was called it was actually a green tea latte, which also turned out to be delicious. I pointed this out to the hipster barista who proceeded to make a frappuccino instead. However he said the latte was just going to be thrown out so I might as well take it too. When my frappuccino came up he also included a certificate for a free drink next time I visit Starbucks. So as it turned out I got a delicious, if not entirely nutritious, meal out of my visit to Starbucks, plus an upcoming free drink. That makes three drinks for the price of one, which makes good thrifting sense. Unfortunately there is no way for me or anyone else to replicate this deal which makes this post entirely pointless so please free to ignore everything above.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A melancholy goodbye

This old cookbook is one of my all time favorite thrift store finds. I grew up cooking out of this book and when I first started getting into old cookbooks it was one of the first I looked for. Unfortunately it was then that I discovered that I am not the only person with a nostalgic streak. This old cookbook with its liberal use of shortening and processed cheese is actually highly coveted in the world of used merchandise. The first time I saw it at a thrift store it was actually in the hands of another woman who I followed around for the rest of her shopping journey to make sure she didn't put it down. I went home disappointed that day (and the women probably went home a little frightened), but I did manage to find it again. Actually I have found it three times again and have bought it three times. (once for only 1$) Now I think it is time to let go of some of my extra copies of this great thrift store find so today I added one to Ebay and passed one on to my mom whose copy has long since disintegrated. In the face of this goodbye I thought I would dedicate a blog entry to this beautiful thrift store find and cookbook nostalgia in general. A moment of silence please..............thanks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Treasure in the neighborhood trash

Today I got a free Maclaren Techno XT stroller. "How does one accomplish such a task?" you may ask yourself. Well last night Dan and I were coming home from a great party at the top of Smith Tower. (Don't worry we will still want to be your friend even after hanging out with the design elite) On the way home we passed the local WIC office across the street and I saw this Maclaren stroller outside just sitting there. I thought, "wow that is a nice stroller to be sitting out at 10:30 in the middle of nowhere." Today I was walking by the aforementioned WIC office and noticed that the stroller was now out back next to the dumpster. I decided if it was still there on my way home I would take it. Really, it seemed like bad form to let such a great thing be added to the landfill. Anyway, it was still there on my way home so I grabbed it and managed to get two strollers home all by myself, one of which held a rather tired baby. I figured someone must have wanted to donate it to the WIC office, but didn't bother to find out if those people take donations first. That is the story I am telling myself anyway. I am pretty sure I didn't steal it, but I realized as I was walking away that I could possible be doing just that. Who knows, maybe someone thought the dumpster was a good place to store a $300 stroller? I wiped it down with disinfectant when we got it home and I have to say it looks and works great. Sturdier and nicer than our current stroller plus I look more like the cool urban mom I aspire to be. Dan said he thought it had a little funk to it when he was taking Hannah for a walk, but it turned out that our baby just needed a diaper change. I have to say this definitely counts as my best find this month.
PS - Sorry about the wonky picture layout. I guess I am not a computer programmer.